It’s no secret that much of our favorite K-pop idols’ “personalities” are carefully crafted by their entertainment company to appeal to as much people as possible. But it’s definitely not difficult to pick out some aspects of an idol’s real personality by watching variety shows or interviews. While there are many extroverts with bubbly personalities in K-pop, there are also a handful of idols who are more reserved and introverted, preferring to let their group members talk during interviews or do goofy things, such as cross-dressing. You would think that a less bubbly and outgoing idol may not receive as much attention as one that is unreserved and approachable, but in K-pop, the quiet ones are sometimes the ones who are loved even more by the fans.
One of the most famous (and well-loved) K-pop idols today is Sohee from the Wonder Girls. Although her singing skills are questionable, I have to admit that Sohee does possess a quiet and quirky kind of charm that is somewhat rare in K-pop. She seems to be a bit awkward and shy when on variety shows, but at the same time that makes her endearing because Sohee just seems more real that way. On her episode of Running Man, Sohee stole the spotlight (for me, anyways) from the other guest stars by being quietly perceptive of her surroundings and making the funniest expressions when she figured out what their missions were. Sohee’s introverted personality makes her stand out in her group, and that’s what draws people to her. She’s memorable and less extroverted fans of the Wonder Girls have an easier time relating to her style. And sometimes, success in terms of K-pop walks hand-in-hand with how memorable an idol can be.
Another immensely popular female idol that immediately pops into people’s minds when the word “shy” or “reserved” is mentioned is SNSD‘s maknae, Seohyun. She reads self-improvement books for fun, tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle (well, as healthy as you can possibly get in K-pop anyways), and has this overall very down-to-Earth feel as a young woman while radiating classiness and quiet confidence. While many people complain that Seohyun is too uptight to make it big in the K-pop industry, especially after watching her season of We Got Married with Yonghwa (an extremely extroverted and fun-loving guy), I believe that Seohyun’s appeal comes from her reserved personality and the way she carries herself. She seems extremely intelligent, but she doesn’t flaunt that trait. And while many of SNSD’s concepts for their songs are very girly and cute, it’s very easy to tell that onstage Seohyun is a perfectionist. And while Sohee can be adorably awkward, Seohyun is extremely graceful (I would even argue more so than some of her group members) and knows how to handle herself.
Speaking of SM Entertainment, one of the most famous idols in Korea, Changmin of DBSK, is also widely known for having an introverted personality. During the days of 5-member DBSK, it always seemed that Changmin preferred to keep to himself during interviews when he wasn’t being ragged on by his hyungs. And now, it’s even more obvious when people contrast his “colder” personality traits to Yunho‘s warm ones. But Changmin has learned to use his quietness to his advantage as he grew older, painting a picture of himself as the mysterious, sexy member of DBSK. While that image disappears whenever he flashes that signature maknae boyish grin, Changmin has admitted before during interviews that he occasionally feels self-conscious about his tendency to close off. Luckily, he knows how to play it off well and make fangirls swoon with his smoldering gaze.
SHINee‘s Minho is another male K-pop star who plays up his quiet side in order to make himself seem mysterious and charismatic. On SHINee’s season of Hello Baby, it was easy to tell that Minho was a man of few words. He played with the baby (or toddler, shall I say), but his actions seemed very calculated in front of the camera. Besides being quiet, Minho is also extremely competitive. He hates losing to anyone over anything. With those personality traits, he can come off as a person who is hard to approach to many fans. However, because he does have a very charismatic image onstage and uses that to amp up his “sexiness,” Minho is perhaps one of the most popular male artists SM Entertainment has right now. It’s easy to fall in love with K-pop idols with bubbly personalities because they seem so likable on the outside, but introverted K-pop idols also possess a unique quality that attract fans to them. While they may seem harder to get to know on the outside, these idols fascinate people because they seem so closed-off. They’re a little quirkier and a little less textbook, and that’s what makes them so appealing to people.
Which idols are your favorites when it comes to the quieter end of the spectrum, Seoulbeaters?